- Rated: PG-13
- Run Time: 1 hours, 58 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: March 16, 2010
- Originally Released: 1991
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 11/15/1991
"...[Close is] lofty and radiant....[The film] has a wry, bemused outlook that keeps [it] on track..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1991
"...A modern meditation on sacred vs. profane love..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Everything is set for the rehearsal. Nothing can go wrong. Then, in the grandest of entrances, she walks in - international star Karin Anderson. She and the married maestro soon begin a passionate affair. Love and the lunacy have no rehearsals.
In István Szabó's MEETING VENUS, a Hungarian music director, Zoltan Szanto (Niels Arestrup), always perceptive of the sly slights of Western Europeans toward those from the East, arrives in Paris to conduct Wagner's TANNHÄUSER at an opera house beset with labor and union problems. In addition, the large multinational cast only adds to the confusion and ultimate chaos. Although she arrives a week late, the Swedish diva, Karin Anderson (Glenn Close), is at first warmly supportive of Zoltan and quells the complaining of the company. But when she falls into an affair with the married conductor, their passionate personal relationship spills over and has an contagious effect on the cast and crew. Close, her singing voice dubbed by Kiri Te Kanawa, gives a commanding, impressive performance as the emotional diva--she's as sweet as sugar and as hard as steel. When Zoltan goes with her for a weekend performance in Budapest, the close proximity of his mistress and his wife nearly causes him to have a nervous breakdown. He returns to Paris to find the opera company on the verge of collapse too.
Szabó, who cowrote the script--perhaps drawing on his own experience as a theater director in Paris some years earlier--clearly designed his film to reflect the problem of working with temperamental artists and also as an allegory of the problems the nations of Europe face as they try to form closer economic and cultural ties. While not as dramatic or sweeping a work on theatrical artists as his majestic MEPHISTO, MEETING VENUS is nonetheless a realistic look at the effort and sacrifice needed to produce an opera.
MEETING VENUS is a behind-the-scenes look at the staging of an international opera in Paris. The cast and crew of the show seem more interested in causing a ruckus then in music. When the troublesome Swedish diva, Karin Anderson, becomes involved with the conductor, the production begins to take on a different shape.
- MEETING VENUS was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 23, 1991, at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
- Glenn Close's musical arias are dubbed by soprano Kiri Te Kanawa.
- Extracts from Richard Wagner's TANNHÄUSER were conducted by Marek Janowski and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.